Scenic Route from Durban to Cape Town
Take a leisurely drive from Durban to Cape Town and enjoy the scenic route. This beautiful journey with its breathtaking landscapes is one that will remain imprinted on your mind long after you return home. The two most popular routes are along the coast and through the interior. A third route uses both and offers a little bit of everything.
The Coastal Route
Durban-Cape Town through the Transkei and the Garden Route (The N2)
The picturesque drive from Durban down the Hibiscus Coast treats the traveller to expansive sea views and gentle rolling hills of sugar cane. After the road turns inland and heads towards Umtata, the scenery changes. Youll wend your way through the Transkei, taking in regal hills dotted with informal African homes. Look out for the Transkei big five and mind the livestock who tend to wander on the freeway!
East London is a lovely seaside city and a good place to stop overnight. A little further on, youll find the quaint Grahamstown, which is home to Rhodes University and rich with fascinating history.
The Garden Route begins in Port Elizabeth (commonly referred to as PE). This is a wildly popular and famous drive, renowned for its striking beauty and abundance of lovely places to stop, visit or stay over. Storms River and the Tsitsikamma National Park are a must-visit. This stunning area offers activities from the adventurous to the relaxed. You can go hiking, take a canopy tour, indulge in leisurely bird watching or enjoy a meal. Also close by is Bloukrans, celebrated as the highest commercial bungy jump in the world. As the Garden Route ends in Heidelburg and the N2 continues towards Cape Town, dont nod off for a moment or youll miss the remarkable Cape scenery!
The Interior (country) Route
Durban-Cape Town through Bloemfontein and the Karoo
The N3 runs upcountry from Durban into the charming Natal Midlands; an abundance of lush farmlands. Imagine vivid green pastures and sparkling dams. If your drive is a leisurely one, make sure to spend a day doing the Midlands Meander and visiting Midmar Dam. Purchase fresh farm produce and sample hearty, homemade delicacies at a farm stall or local restaurant. If you have time, spend a relaxing evening in a country cottage where you can eat outdoors on a warm, summer evening or in front of a roaring fire in the middle of winter.
The N1 from Bloemfontein through Beaufort West to Cape Town leads you through the arid and starkly beautiful Karoo. The Karoo is one of the only arid areas of its kind in the world. It is a place where time appears to stand still, and peace and tranquillity reign even in the extremes of temperature that are characteristic of the region. The Karoo is a place where you can think. Stay over at a traditional Karoo farm and experience the legendary hospitality (and cooking) theyre known for.
Marvel as the Karoo plains transform into the mountains guarding the Cape Winelands. Vineyards and orchards make up patchwork quilts at the foot of the majestic mountain ranges. Worcester, Paarl and surrounds are wonderful towns to visit for refreshment and relaxation. The Winelands offer breathtaking drives, wine tastings, river cruises and the like, with Cape Town only an hour away.
A little bit of everything
Durban-Cape Town through Bloemfontein and the Garden Route
A third option is to take the country route out of Durban to experience the verdant Midlands; drive across to Bloemfontein, and then down-country to East London and on to PE to do the Garden Route. The Bloemfontein-East London leg (N6) of this drive will give you a taste of country and coast; with the topography changing from Karoo plains on the Bloemfontein side to coastal dunes in PE. There is much on offer for the traveller, including Bushman paintings, historical sites, hiking trails, excellent fishing and game viewing.
South Africa is a country of diverse and captivating landscapes. Driving the scenic route from Durban to Cape Town will give you great memories, and, no doubt, many stories to share.
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